Tuesday, January 31, 2017


Dan babysat today (THE DOG!) so I could go to a doctor's appointment and get my haircut.
We are getting so used to him being reliably clean that we forgot that him staying accident-free depends on us taking him out regularly!

I blame the first two on Dan and Chris. 
Dan was busy on the phone and didn't realize 30 min. had passed. Crap. (literally)

Chris took Kershaw out when I took Nick to the orthodontist and then put him in his x-pen and then went up to his room for a nap.

An hour later when I got home Kershaw hadn't knocked the cage down, 
but he had left a present -- twice!
(The good news is, we were wondering if he was getting a bit backed up with his new food, so I'd given him pumpkin at his last few meals. So now we know that works.)

(And Chris didn't know that if he's left alone he needs to be in his crate -- not the xpen.)

And finally, we were having a wonderful evening. Kershaw had a long evening nap during our dinner and then Dan and I were playing with him while Nick was doing his homework 
(does that sound opposite of what should be happening?). 
We were having a great time until he started biting a lot. 
So we stuck him in the x-pen, not remembering that after 15-30 min. of play, he needs to go out.

But we forgot, and a few minutes after putting him in the pen, we looked over to see him 
standing in a big puppy puddle.

We will do so much better tomorrow!

Also got him in his Dodgers jersey tonight! Go Kershaw!

Sunday, January 29, 2017


The vet's idea DID NOT work! We woke refreshed at 6:45 but disappointed to find Kershaw had had two kinds of accidents in his crate. We obviously slept right through his whining.

Because if I keep a record and keep a schedule, I feel more in control.
4 days of recording Kershaw's every move.
So we changed tactics the next few days to waking up at 5:15 to take him out. Much better. We are staying on a very strict schedule, but the consistency is paying off. He's biting a bunch though. 
1 step forward, 1 step back.

He's hoarding his toys. (And notice I'm still in the pen with him. I literally spend half my day in a cage.)
I slipped and fell on the ice taking Kershaw out -- TWICE -- and ripped a hole in my pants.
I sort of wanted to cry a little bit.
Nick's first day of passing the sacrament was today and I'm SO SAD I didn't take a picture of him in his suit coat (Chris' old suit coat)! He looked so handsome! His comment on passing was, "It wasn't as hard as complicated as I thought it was going to be." But he also felt embarrassed that when he passed the water to the Bishop, he was so focused on passing, he forgot to pause for the Bishop to put his cup back and it dropped on the ground. And then Nick said, "But I think he understands." Yes, he does.

Chris is walking without crutches! He needs them by the end of the day and will use them at school because walking around is so far (for a kid with a broken femur). But he's improved so much! 4 weeks from surgery! Back then four weeks seemed so far away and like there was no way he could feel better in four weeks. He's been through something really hard and trying and done so well!

My life. Either taking care of or reading how to take care of a puppy.
For our date night, Dan and I stayed in and gave Kershaw a bath. We seriously have a newborn.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Kershaw is Training Us

I was on a tight leash today making sure I kept Kershaw's schedule regular! Also included setting my alarm for 3:00 am to take him out. Our trainer said he likes to do that until they're older. However, my vet today said he should definitely be able to sleep through the night and if he has an accident once in a while its no big deal. So, I'll try the vet's approach tonight. (He was actually sleeping through the night when we picked him up but I wanted to err on the side of "we did everything the trainer told us" his first night back!)

Basically his schedule is:
1) crate
2) take out of crate after 1 to 1 1/2 hours (ignore him if he cries unless its been an hour)
3) take out to potty (sorry you hate potty as a verb, Courtney!)
4) inside to play for 15 min.
5) outside to potty again
6) back in crate


Cutest ever!
I was really racing to maximize each 1 hr. stint that I had. We had the morning outing to the vet and he came with me in his travel crate to pick up Chris and take Nick to swimming. Wanted a fun distraction with him. Dan did come home for one potty break and play session so I could have my meeting with the designer.  Nick took him out a couple times this evening! Unfortunately, Chris can't help yet!

I'm exhausted.
"Can we take him with us, Mom? Please!!"
My two babies...
His favorite toy is an empty water bottle.
I spent a lot of my day in the x-pen with Kershaw. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

First MTC Letter

Marty's first e-mail came today -- the same day I picked up his portrait. 
Sounds like he's doing good. 
My favorite lines: 

"The spirit of the MTC is amazing. It really makes every day here a blessing."

1 Nephi 3:7 "I've been commanded of the Lord to go on my mission and learn Japanese so I know he will prepare a way to accomplish that task!"

and in his letter to Mom and Dad:

"Learning Nihongo is super cool and super hard which makes it all the more satisfying to learn. 
All the teachers only speak in Japanese to us which is sometimes frustrating but I'm sure their system has been refined and it's the best way to learn."

He's also singing in the choir "and it's just fun to be slightly musical."

Kershaw is back! Wish us luck! He's ever so cute and soft and furry so he's got that going for him. 
I loved talking to our trainer and learning what works for Kershaw. Also watching how he's taught Kershaw to be still for a short period of time. 
We'll start group training on Saturday with the whole family. 

This isn't the best photo, but he moves fast!

Back at Spin Class on Tuesday. Ankle a bit sore but not too bad.

"Bubble, Bubble, toil and trouble..." 

I know that's not how it really goes, but I was learning about metrical lines and "Double, Double..." was the example for "Trochea" and Nick's been blowing bubbles like crazy so "Bubble, Bubble..." is stuck in my head instead of the real thing! (Is that an example of life imitating art?!)

EC advised me to "take care of my eyes" so in that spirit of taking her advice, I wore my sunglasses all day today even though it was totally snowy. I think it helped. (Until it got really dark and foggy and I couldn't see that great and then remembered I had my sunglasses on!)
Courtney, is this my typical resting face?

Monday, January 23, 2017

Work to be Done

I had to do the centipede laundry today. That's what I'm calling the laundering of any clothes that have recently spent time in Hawaii. No more centipedes appeared, but it was harrowing, nonetheless.

Snowy Monday
I love Mondays. I think I've said it before. But I love the start of a new week and the chance to get everything organized and the possibility that the week will get off to a great start.

Kids off to school, make a grocery list, lots of laundry (I do all the laundry on Mondays -- one day a week and then I don't think about it again until the next week. I love it that way), e-mail catch-up, workout with my trainer, fold laundry, quiet lunch while I read my scriptures, make a list of plans for the week, fold laundry, grocery shopping, kids home from school, fold laundry, Nick to saxophone lessons, work on my essay for British Lit class, get some other stuff done, make dinner, eat as a family, fold laundry, get more stuff done. I get a lot done and it's not rushed or harried. Just calm and peaceful. Of course not all Mondays get to be like this one. But a lot are and they're a gift.

Right now for scripture-reading I'm reading the Old Testament. Have to be honest, it's not my favorite. In fact I'll go so far as to say that sometimes I even think, "Ugh, I hate reading the Old Testament." Lots of lists of names and lots of wars. I feel like I'm literally just slogging through.

BUT, if I read the Old Testament study guide, I appreciate what I'm reading so much more and get a better historical sense of what's going on. Here's the guide I like the best. (Old Testament Student Guide--for Institute)

Today two scriptures jumped out to me (without the manual pointing them out).
Joshua 11:15 -- "As the Lord commanded Moses his servant, so did Moses command Joshua, and so did Joshua; he left nothing undone of all that the Lord commanded Moses."
Joshua did everything the Lord commanded. We know we can't be perfect, but we strive to obey all the Lord's commandments.

Yes, sometimes we get overwhelmed by all the things to be done that "feel" like commandments (work at the cannery, make sure our kids memorize the scripture photos, plan a roadshow, prepare a song to play in church, don't miss Relief Society activity night.) These aren't really "must-do's."

And sometimes we feel like we're doing everything "we're supposed to do" but we aren't really reading our scriptures faithfully, praying thoughtfully, or attending the temple regularly. We think we are because that's the type of person we generally are and who we want to be. But then we realize it's been a few months since we've been to the temple or because the Old Testament feels like kind of a drag we realize it's not been just a few days since we've last read, but a few weeks. (And at my age/stage, one verse before drifting off to sleep really doesn't cut it.)

On Sunday I read an article in the Ensign by President Uchtdorf called "Aiming at the Center" which talks about exactly this.
"As Church members, we sometimes have a tendency to attach ourselves to gospel programs, issues, and even doctrines that seem interesting, important, or enjoyable to us. We are tempted to draw targets around them, making us believe we are aiming at the center of the gospel. 
"Anciently, religious leaders spent a great deal of time cataloging, ranking and debating which of the commandments was the most important." 
"...When the Savior was asked which is the great commandment in the law, he answered, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart... and the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
"The more we learn about God and feel His love for us, the more we realize that the infinite sacrifice of Jesus Chris is a divine gift of God." --Pres. Uchtdorf
This goes back to my mantra: It doesn't matter how spiritual your parents are or your friends or your neighbors, if you want to have a testimony, you have to read the scriptures, say your prayers and go to church. There's no other way.

I also loved this:
Joshua 13:1 -- "Thou art old and stricken in years, and there remaineth yet very much land to be possessed. 
No matter how old, there will always be work to be done!

Speaking of old (NO!! I'm totally kidding!!!), I called my mother-in-law to wish her a Happy belated Birthday (January 21 is her actual birthday -- Happy Birthday, Mom!) We had a fun conversation -- we always do. She said she had so many friends call her to wish her a Happy Day!

Riding the bicycle built for two over Thanksgiving!
As we were saying good-byes, she said something to the effect of, "You can cross me off your list!" And I laughed and said she was on my list today. But as I was driving home from the store, the old 80's song, "I just called, to say, I love you!" came on the radio and I thought, "Oh! I'm going to call EC right now!" Thank you Stevie Wonder for the reminder!

EC said, "Wow! That was a popular song when my sister Jane was dying (of breast cancer.) I heard it back then and would call her and say, 'they're playing our song!'" She then told me today she was wearing the sweater Jane had knit her (or was it the other way around?).

Well, call it coincidence. I call it inspiration. And I said, "Clearly Jane wanted you to know she was thinking of you too! But when did she pass away? It wasn't around your birthday was it?"

"Yes, it was. January 25th."

That's more than inspiration -- definitely divine intervention.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

In the Hands of God

It's fun to have a missionary to write a letter to on Sunday! We did get an e-mail from him on Thursday morning. Here it is:

Hi guys!  The first day was great! We're supposed to send a short email letting you guys know that we made it A OK. Have a great week! Also please send me a  comb and some lotion thanks!

Ha! A man of few words. I'm curious to find out if future e-mails will be longer. I really don't know!
We have a delivery service that does same-day delivery to the MTC. So I was able to quickly send his requests and a couple extra things, so he should have already received his first package.

I did Nick's laundry on Friday. He took it out of his suitcase and brought it downstairs in the basket. I put it into the washer. And then transferred it to the dryer. And upon opening the dryer, was met with a 3" centipede who had hitched a ride home from Hawaii and somehow (thankfully!) didn't make himself known amongst all that moving clothes around until he was dehydrated in the dryer! So GROSS!! Can you see how big that thing is?! HUGE!

Of course I was freaking out. So glad at these times to be able to say to my husband, "You're the man, you have to get it!" He's honestly not that much braver than me when it comes to creepy crawly things. (And dead birds -- remember that?!) But he does rise to the occasion and took it to the outdoor garbage cans to get it as far away from me as possible. Still just thinking about it makes me squirm!

Friday Jane Adair Nugent was born! Yay! She arrived with a harrowing last-minute complication as she tried to come out shoulder first and no amount of tugging could turn her so an emergency c-section was performed. But how grateful we are to live in this time with medical interventions!! She wasn't breathing when she was born, but very soon she began to cry which resulted in a very emotional Bekah and Matt, as you can imagine!

On the subject of babies, Rachel was having some complications with her pregnancy -- placenta growing over cervix. Often this corrects itself, but the location and area didn't look good. When she texted to tell everyone, Michelle asked if she would be okay with a family fast and prayer. She was. That Sunday was Fast Sunday so we all fasted for Rachel, Jeremy and Baby. At her next appointment, the doctor was VERY surprised at how much improvement had already taken place. Seriously shocked.

Then at her most recent appointment last week, everything had completely moved away from her cervix. The doctor was most surprised at the direction it moved. Very atypical. She said it normally doesn't move that direction, but it is certainly the most efficient direction to move. Fasting and Prayer works. It just does.

Friday night we got a surprise snowstorm. Woke up to over 8" of snow and it got up to 12" throughout the morning.  Dan took Nick skiing. Took them over 2 hours to get to Alta and then the powder was so high on Nick he only managed 2 runs before he was beat.

Dan got home in time to snowblow the driveway for a second time. While outside, a neighbor two doors down asked if he could help her get her machine working.  Her husband was out of town and Dan went ahead and snowblowed her driveway for her. Then next door to her, another neighbor who is battling brain cancer and his wife were out hand shoveling their driveway because their blower was broken. Dan took over and got theirs done. And finally, he blowed the driveway across the street from them because its the house Chris is assigned to, but he can't with his broken femur. So... 2 hours later Dan finally finished. He's a great example of helping without complaint.

Saturday evening we had Nick's birthday party. Last year we never got around to doing his neighborhood friend party. He planned a LaserQuest party with his school class, but there wasn't enough space to invite his neighborhood friends as well.  I said we'd do a separate one, but then we never got around to it! :-\

He had been wanting to go to Flowrider, so now, a year later we finally made good. And what he wanted was to get as many turns as possible. So he only invited 4 friends and they had the whole Flowrider to themselves for an hour. They said it was so fun and felt like 3 hours! Such cute friends and so fun to be with!

Notice I haven't said anything about Chris?! Because he's getting practically back to normal! He hung out with friends all evening Friday and Saturday. He can get around the house with one crutch well and can even walk (with a VERY big limp) for a bit. But then his leg tires out and starts hurting so he goes back to crutches. He is feeling fine back at school, but I will keep having him do home seminary because the seminary building is too far to crutch in the snow and ice for now.

He's in good hands.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Sayonara, Son

It's been pretty hard to be sad when Marty was so darn excited. Seriously, his enthusiasm was contagious! He's off to do a great work and have amazing experiences along the way and I'm excited for him to get started. And so was he.

This morning wasn't too hectic finishing up last minute details as he didn't have to check-in until 1:15.  And knowing he'll be at the Provo MTC for two months where we can easily send packages through local delivery services simplified things since if he forgets anything important or didn't need something after all, we could easily send it to him or he can send things back.

I asked how he was feeling yesterday. Apprehensive? Excited? He said he was ready. Ready to go and ready to start and excited to see what the MTC was all about.  He kept saying he'd been thinking about this day his whole life and was so happy it was finally here.
August 29, 2005 -- Marty 8 years old -- 1st day of 2nd grade

We picked up Nick from school on the way and had a casual lunch at Even Stevens sandwich shop. Then headed to Provo with enough time to take photos outside the Provo temple. Lots of families were doing the same thing. Our photo session was very short and then we hopped in the car to get in line for drop-off. Which was actually a very long, slow line. Took 20 minutes, but not complaining about all sitting together laughing and joking for an extra 20. We waved a car ahead of us at one point and later found out it was one of my good friends' from high school who was dropping off her daughter!! I didn't notice her, but she instagrammed me later to tell me so!
Will be so fun to see how these boys change in two years! 
Family Selfie outside the Provo temple
As we pulled up to drop-off, Marty spotted his buddy from high school! (Chris was in the front seat, Marty was cozily squished between Nick and I in the back and he had to quickly lean over me to roll down the window and call Noah's name to get his attention as he walked by.) We all quickly jumped out so Marty could say hi and Marty's greeter let Elder Hedin be his "greeter" who walks him to his dorm and helps him get acclimated. Marty was so excited to see him and gave us each quick hugs and then walked away. Loved that he was ready to get going!

And then we came home back to everyone else's real life:

Nick decided to get a haircut after all. Then he wanted to go to the bank and get a debit card. Ummm... growing up, much? 12 years old. He's off to his first Deacon's basketball game tonight and then his Jr. Jazz game right after.
Before -- Obviously he didn't wear it this way. But really, getting a little out of control.
Atta boy!
Chris resumed his "spot" back in bed, but was awake enough to watch a movie and then came downstairs for dinner. (Have I said a million times already what a difference a week makes! WOW! Cannot believe how much he's improved!) A week ago I met with his counselor to work out going to 1 or 2 classes a day and now he's going to try three classes tomorrow his first day back. He's getting around easier. Can even put his foot down and limp a bit. Not far, but enough to have someone hold his crutches so he is crutch-free in photos!
Kathy V. brought us dinner last night! What a wonderful surprise!
The Hoole's brought us dinner tonight! I have such thoughtful friends!

On the plane home from Hawaii, we had a stewardess who was on our flight out. She was thrilled to see Christopher looking so well and commented that she and the other stewardesses were talking about how pale he had been and so sick. And now he looks so much better!

Deep thoughts with the boys in the pool in Hawaii.
Last night was Marty's setting-apart. We met with the Stake President and our bishop at the President's office and Grandpa and Diane came too. What a nice meeting. Lasted about an hour with the Stake President offering counsel and advice and giving the rest of us each an opportunity to counsel and share our love with Marty as well. I loved how Nick told Marty he was grateful for his example and that watching him prepare for his mission has made Nick excited for his own someday. And Chris telling Marty he was his best friend and he was proud of his example.

Marty spoke last sharing how excited he was and how the church was true and he was excited to love the people of Japan and tell them about Jesus.

Putting his pin on the missionary map at the Stake President's Offices

Thomas and Matt were over earlier in the evening so they could all watch the last Regular Show together (Series finale -- perfect timing!) and then hung out and talked after Marty came back from getting set-apart.

Marty has been diligently reading through the Book of Mormon and had just Moroni left to read last night. He wanted to save it for a time after saying good night to everyone and being alone and he could think, ponder and act on Moroni's Promise. Proud of him for taking it so seriously.

Marty saying goodbye to Courtney in the Honolulu airport. She was also sick.
See how hard it is to be sad when he has that happy smile?! 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Sayonara, Sun

I'm so grateful we had these 5 days together -- our whole family together and just our family.
We haven't gone on any adventures, due to Chris' leg, but no one minded. It was fun to simply relax, play games, watch A Series Of Unfortunate Events, play in the pool, laugh, joke and hang out together.

Courtney was remembering that when she went to college it felt like she'd never see her family again. But then realized that wasn't the case -- this past year we've seen her about every three weeks!
Two years is a long time for Marty to be gone, but I'm excited for letters and getting to hear from him in a different way -- the spiritual side of him and about him living in a very different and new place, being a missionary!

And as Dan and I well remember, two years ends and then you have a lifetime to enjoy together.

It's been fun to see Marty focused on getting through the Book of Mormon before he goes into the MTC and hear his thoughts about the narrative as he's reading.

Morning homework time

Dan and Nick going to check out the snorkeling

Our room was literally steps from the beach with a large grassy area out front and a smallish area of sand so it wasn't too difficult for Chris to get to the beach. In just the short time we've been here, his mobility has improved a ton. The first day he could barely bend and there was no way he could sit on a low chair. But a few days in, he was able to bend his leg enough and balance enough to lower himself into the beach chair.

Dan and I have commented that although we prefer going to Maui, coming to Oahu and staying in this particular hotel and villa have been so providential. Walk-out rather than stairs and elevators, steps to the pool, beach and beachside restaurant. Close to parking. We had no idea when we booked this trip how all these little details would make such a difference for Chris being able to get around!

Chris getting some sun and enjoying the outdoors for the first time in a few weeks!
Chris was worried about spending the entire day at Polynesian Cultural Center and wasn't happy to be pushed in a wheelchair. We decided to just go for a couple of hours. If we left wanting more, we had something to look forward to next time we came!

We got there about 4:00 and were able to enjoy shows in the Tongan and Samoa Villages, as well as a short IMAX movie, dinner and the finale show. The 30 minute shows were entertaining and the buffet was good. (Although there were tons of places to buy food had the buffet not been included in our ticket.) We'd heard great reviews for the show, "Ha: Breath of Life" but after 20 min. our kids were ready to go. Claiming the kid on crutches was sick, we ditched out. I think everyone would have been more engaged in the show if our seats were closer. I think.

Had to sneak this photo of Chris in the Jazzy because he was really upset about needing to use it.
But a million times better than crutching around!

Two brothers walking and talking. I have a similar photo of Nick and Courtney just before we dropped her off in Seattle.

Courtney said this is what Dan and I always look like sitting watching something. Our resting faces.

Sunday morning after church we got our temple photo. I wish we could have gotten one with the whole family. But love this of my cute Shaeffer kids all together!

We stopped to get shrimp and Hawaiian shave ice at food trucks on the way home from church. The shrimp was super good and the shaved ice tasted like chemicals. Nick took one sip and said it tasted like medicine. We had to throw them away.

And the boys were in a panic to get home as fast as possible to watch the Cowboys. Too bad the Cowboys and Dak couldn't pull it off. Close. So Close!
Hawaii is outside, but Cowboys are playing inside!

Seriously?! Courtney and I hopped a wall and there was a curb on the other side and I rolled my ankle!
Thankfully a little ice each morning and it feels pretty good the rest of the day.
We are just sitting around our last day here. Sleeping, eating, sleeping some more. Updating blogs, doing reading assignments, playing Clash Royale and Super Mario, Marty faithfully working on the Book of Mormon. Even working in time for a workout at the hotel gym.

Chris had to get a shot again in anticipation of our plane trip home. Tonight he'll get the last one and then we are done!

We have the all night flight home and Nick has his school clothes so he can go straight to school! (Yikes! Glad it's not me!) Courtney and Marty will say their goodbyes at the airport as she flies home to Seattle and we go to SLC. What's that going to be like?!